Running My First 5K

Before running my first 5k, I had always wanted to just run an event or participate in something competitive, this went on for many years and I would even tell friend and family that one day I would run an event. This wanting/idea, I kept telling everyone started around the age of 20 and still never got to preparing or putting in the time for this. Now I was 25 years old and had just graduated from college, what to do now?

I was walking through my local library one day and noticed how they put up new books almost every week. I would sometimes stop by this shelf and browse through these, some I read that were very interesting subjects ranging from math, physics to spirituality. On this one day I walked by and this book stood out to me. It was called “What makes Olga run?” I read the summary and wow did this 90-something-year old lady’s story sounded interesting. I devoured the book in three days. Upon completion I was amazed with the finding the author ¬†discovered with other scientists: Age is just a number, we can slow down the aging process, if you stopped some form of exercise or activity at a younger age and restart when you are much older, you can advance in that area of interest much faster than someone just starting. Your body keeps a record of the past.

In this book they attempt to dissect what makes Olga, a 90-something-year old tick. Is it her diet, sleep routine, exercise? Surprisingly, they came to a conclusion that there are too many variables in trying to determine the functioning process of a person. This left me feeling a bit like a loser, thinking that I needed the right conditions and perfect timing before I could attempt my first 5k run. This thought was proven false because of the one thing that they found really helped a person, it’s called resiliency. They described resiliency as being able to bounce back from any setbacks or failures. Shortly after reading the book I decided to start some training for a 5k. I felt like I just needed a good running regimen, just run more right? I felt I already had some strength, because I was already following a calisthenics workout routine five days a week and running a mountain near my house-Blair park, San Bernadino,CA, every sunday. I did some research on what kind of regimen I should follow, I decided to keep it simple and landed on doing a Tabata regimen for my running routine. I decided to do a Tabata run, it consisted all out for 20-seconds and then jogging for 10-seconds, cycling through that from 4-16 minutes. At first, I just went for 4-minutes and then incremented weekly until I felt comfortable at 16-minute tabatas.

During this time as well I decided to take a trip to Kansas and visit family I had not seen for many years. It was really helpful that there was a running-track next to where I was visiting. I was on this trip for about a month. Still, I followed my calisthenic workouts and practicing the tabata runs. My training routine was simplified, I would follow the calisthenic workouts during the morning and run tabatas two days out of the week. Usually Wednesday and Saturday. I’ll admit, the first time I tried the tabata run, i was completely out of breath and felt sort of nautcious. Still I continued this routine for a month and during that time I made sure to sign up for the upcoming 5k run in apple valley, CA. Why apple valley, because that’s the area my sister lived in and I thought it’d be good to run high altitude with experienced runners. The time From finishing the what makes Olga run book, to the 5k, was about 1.5 months.

Shortly after returning home, I continued the training process. Mind you, that my diet the week of the run was horrible, I was eating tortas(mexican sandwiches), heavy carb-loaded meals days prior to the run. What didn’t help, was that the night before I ate some Queso-fresco and bean tacos for dinner. I definitely couldn’t sleep that night because i felt nervous about how i’d perform and because of some discomforting gas from dinner. So now it’s morning and I’ve slept about three hours, I drive up to the high desert and stop by the restroom at a carl’s junior, I’m not able to go poo because of this anxiety i’m feeling, oh well “i’ll manage” I tell myself. I get to the registration line to pick up my bib and tracking device that is attached to my shoe. Now it’s 10 minutes prior to the run and i’m chatting it up with people around me. Some told me they’d run events before, for others it’s their first time as well. I look over to my mom and smile but she can tell i’m nervous.

I hear the gun go off and i’m off, my heart’s racing and all I can do make sure that I don’t bump into someone on the way. My feet were pounding the pavement, and my heart feels like it’s going to shoot out of my chest. I feel good, i’m staying with the pack. Suddenly a thought comes to mind, ” I have twenty more minutes of this?, what the F*!”; still keeping pace. Now i’m feeling some aching on my sides and people are passing me up, “good job” is all i hear and swoosh i get passed up. I try to calm my mind and wait to see the turn-around. I know my strength is running uphill, I enjoy them more than straight-aways. I see the turn-around and mentally flip the switch(it’s go time!), I apply a technique a runner from the Olga book. The runner describes it as looking at the backs of runners heads and marking a spot behind the person you’re trying to pass up. After that you envision yourself running through this person. Sounds good, now it’s time to apply it. I pick up the pace and keep my chin high, I find my first target, aim and see myself running through them, one down, more to go. I repeat the process and i’m feeling great. Now i’m the one passing runners saying”good job”, onto the next runner.

I now see the starting point, my feet move with more determination, my heart? all i feel are multiple thumps going on and my mind is laser-focused on getting to the finish line. I see it, I make the turn but I don’t no exactly how to get into the designated finish area. One of the event helpers notices my confusion and quickly points me in the right direction. I turn, sprint, another turn and sprint. I see my mom and nephews waiting, I push as hard as I can until I pass the finish line. My energy is racing, and I’m hugging my nephews and mother. The event helps tell me ”good job” and something else. I’m looking around and ask “who came in first?” the event helpers were trying to tell me that I(me) had come in first. I was in a state of confusion, like “what?me?how?” shortly after hearing that, the second place runner came up to me, shook my hand and congratulated me. This confusion went on for about ten minutes and I kept denying this truth. Now it was made clear to me after runners’s times were posted on a board next to the finish line. “Holy smokes!” It had me as: “1. Lorenzo Morales Jr, San Bernardino,CA (23:12)”, I had a large smile on my face and my racing heart settled into calmness. I showed up, pushed my body and it responded. I now realize my mind is something I have to get past in order to reach new levels of performance. I hope someone reading this can feel something similar to what i felt on this day. All I asked of myself that day was “just Show Up”, I think there’s a quote by Woody Allen, in which he says” 80% of success is showing up”. Give this book a read and have one less excuse today for what you can’t be awesome.

This is your friend Lorenzo signing off, Please don’t give up, Please don’t give in. first place in 5k run

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